Oct 2013 15

As photographers, we all know now is the busiest time for family portraits. As much as we love to photograph happy families, we also sweat bullets wondering how we can get a great picture and keep everyone happy. There are a few tips you may want to keep in mind when tackling the family unit.

1. Get it Off the Bat

I find that with new clients and old clients one thing always seems to work. Get the formal shot right off the bat when everyone is  listening and ready. You can get the casual shots later when they all relax and they start to lose interest.  I typically will take dad and have him sit in his position so I can get a good meter reading. This way I’m not wasting valuable time by trying to have children sit still while I figure out my exposure. Next, I’ll place mom and lastly the kids. I photograph full length and 3/4 right off the top. This way the first 10-15 minutes I spend getting the posed shot and knowing everything else is extra. The following image was the 8th photo I took of the family.

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2. Keep it Short

With younger families especially, time is crucial. Ever notice you start to lose the little one’s attention about 10 minutes in? It’s not you… it’s them. They need to be constantly moving and active. Anything more than 10-15 minutes and you’ve already lost your window.  Break after a few minutes, let them run around and relax.  Plan your next pose and start all over again.  The next image, I made everyone stand up just moments after everyone was sitting.

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3. Don’t Cut me Off

You have a lot of people in the portrait. That means you have a lot of feet and hands as well. Keep in mind to not cut off the feet or hands or fingers on full length portraits.  This is not to say you can’t get artistic and try different things.  Just make sure on the family formal portrait you get everything included in the first round, then you can experiment. Here you’ll see ll fingers and toes are accounted for in this image.

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4. Hold On

Little ones are active. It’s hard for them to sit still. Telling a child to put their hands down constantly while everyone else is ready  is stressful to the family. Keep it simple and give the little one something to hold in their hands.  Give them something seasonal, like say for instance a leaf or a pine cone to play with, this will keep their hands busy. If you look closely at this image, you’ll see the youngest has a small leaf in her hand.

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5. Loosen Up

Every family is quirky. It’s important to capture this as well. You know you got the formal pictures right off the top of the session, so now it’s time to have some fun. Loosen up and let them to hug or kiss. I typically say, tickle the funniest person in your family. The images are fun and relaxed and unexpected. It’s ok if not everyone is looking into the camera, the smile on their faces is worth a million bucks.

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written by Michelle Libby for Adoramapix

Nov 2013 18

We are thrilled to welcome back Natascha Lee of Natascha Lee Studios to our webinar roster. Last year, Natascha Lee hosted one of our most successful webinars to date. The reviews on her Family Affair Webinar were outstanding so we asked her to join us again and she kindly agreed to share her knowledge and expertise with us.

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Natascha Lee  is a family photographer and artist based in Broomfield, Colorado. She specializes in vibrant and natural outdoor portraits. As you can see from her client testimonials,  clients select Natascha Lee Studios for both the artistic images created AND for the fun, memorable experience of the portrait session.
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In this invaluable and FREE webinar, Natascha will share her proven approach to Fabulous and Fun Family Photos, including:
 - Client prep to make your life easier
- Making the entire family comfortable in the first 10 minutes
- Keeping the experience fun, easy and moving
- Getting the most important shots, including the one most people forget about
- Ending the session on an upbeat note
…all leading to fun and profitable family portraits.
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Join Natascha on Sunday, December 1st,  9pm EST  for this invaluable and FREE session brought to you by Adoramapix and Natascha Lee Studios.
We also once again have generous door prizes for this webinar. Sponsors for the prizes include:
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Dec 2013 03

Are you shopping for a camera for your child this holiday season?  Do you want to introduce your children to the wonders of photography, without sacrificing your fragile iPhone or pricey camera in the process?  With all the stuff out there this holiday season, a camera is a relatively inexpensive gift that will last for years, while providing hours of education and creativity in kids as young as two years old.  Adoramapix Ambassador, Jay B. Wilson of Jay B. Wilson Photography gives us five tips on introducing your kids to the amazing world of photography.

 

1. Avoid “Toy” Cameras  - There are a lot of toy cameras out there, and while they may seem like an easy choice for your child, I’d caution you on most.  They tend to take extremely poor quality images – something they might have lived with ten years ago, but if your kid has experimented with your smartphone camera, he or she is going to be disappointed.   Yes, they’ve got princesses and superheros plastered all over them, which may get you some big smiles when they’re unwrapped, but kids aren’t dumb – they’ll lose interest quickly if they can’t really enjoy the images they create.   And you’ll be frustrated too, trying to explain why that photo of the cat they worked so hard to get looks like a furry smudge.

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2. Go for Durability - Any camera you get for your child is going to get dropped, stepped on, thrown, and generally mistreated.  Yes, you want to instill a sense of responsibility and care in your child, but if you teach him or her to treat their camera like a delicate flower, with constant admonishments to “be careful!” they’re going to be afraid to use it.   One of the most important considerations for pro photographers when choosing a camera is feeling comfortable with it in our hands and having a good “build quality” – it’s durable and will stand up to constant use.  Take it a step further with your child’s camera and choose a water-proof, shock-proof model.  Not only will this give you peace of mind your investment won’t be listed on eBay for parts by New Year’s, your child will be able to take it to the playground, to the beach, and even in the water, which will open up creative possibilities they wouldn’t have if the camera had to stay home.  I particularly like the Nikon Coolpix S31 - which comes in a variety of colors (yes, even pink!) is waterproof to 5 meters, and takes HD video.  Best of all, it’s less than $100 and you can find it HERE on the Adorama site.

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3. Get Them Inspired - One of my favorite bedtime activities with my daughter is to scroll through my Instagram feed looking a photos from around the world.   She’s developed a specific taste in styles and subjects – she despises black & white – and loves recognizing locations and photographers she’s familiar with.  Share the photos that you’re taking – of family events, vacations, and more – preferably on the big screen of your computer or television, so that your child gets the full effect of what a powerful image can be.  Take her to a photography museum like ICP, or a local gallery in your town.  Find some fun photography books like Underwater Dogs at the library or bookstore.  Stoke your child’s imagination with the possibilities of their new camera, and they’ll have a head start on creating beautiful images.

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4. Print! - Sadly, with the proliferation of social media and smartphones, printing photographs is done less and less frequently.  But there’s something about holding a photograph in your hands, or hanging it on a wall, that makes the process so much more fulfilling.  Children love to make stuff, so don’t let that memory card fill up and sit in a desk drawer somewhere.  Whether you use a home printer (I love the Canon Pixma series), a local drugstore,  or a professional lab like Adoramapix in NYC (yes, they ship!) I really think it’s imperative that you DO something with those photos.  Let her decorate her room with framed photos that she’s taken herself.  Let your preschooler take some 4×6 prints from his holiday break for show and tell.   And with photobooks, prints on canvas, and other photo products, the possibilities really are endless.

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5. Don’t Push It - You’ve bought the perfect camera, made prints of your child’s work, encouraged her to bring it along on vacation.  But she’s just not taking to it as you had hoped.  Don’t force the issue.  In my experience, trying to force a new hobby or interest on a child who isn’t receptive is doomed to failure, and may close their minds to other experiences.  Perhaps he’ll never develop an interest, but maybe it’s just not the right time.  Conversely, if he takes to photography like a fish to water, encourage him.  Lots of schools and community centers have photography classes for kids as young as kindergarten.  As with any skill, photography takes lots of practice – the sooner you start her off, the sooner you may have the next Vivian Maier on your hands.

Thank you to guest blogger and Adoramapix Ambassador Jay B. Wilson of Jay B. Wilson Photography for these insightful and fun tips in getting your kids introduced to the world of photography.

 

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Jan 2014 14
There are some great photographers out there that I admire who have the tenacity to stick with their project 365 throughout the year. Project 365 allows you to take a photo a day throughout the year chroniciling your life and your vision. It’s not an easy task but I asked some folks on their tips to help us stick with this rewarding project.
1. Discipline
I notice photographer TJ Powell’s 365 project on Twitter and I asked him about his biggest hurdle. He said, “My biggest obstacle was remembering to take the photo.  I tried to do this in 2010 but failed because I could never remember to take the photos.  So, this time I went with using my iPhone only, and I set up a reminder to take a photo at 6 PM so that I would not forget.  I tried to get the photos posted onto Facebook every day but there were many days that I had to post them in a group but I was able to get the photo on each day.”
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If you need more direction or help check out the free app Project 365.  The app arranges your photos in a meaningful way, sends daily reminders and allows you to share photos with friends and family. It’s designed to help you easily keep on track for the year.
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2. Details and Light

When TJ got into a rhythm of taking a photo a day, he noticed that he became more aware of the world around him. He said, “The 365 project challenged me pay closer attention to the world around me and pay attention to the light and subject to photograph. Over the year, I began to look at light and events during the day to be photo op.  I am now looking for things to take photos of all the time.  I think it will make me a better photographer to continue this project for 2014.”

3. Make it Easy
Don’t give yourself an excuse to skip a day. Bring your camera with you everyday and everywhere. It’s understandable you probably don’t want to drag your professional DSLR around with you, thanks to the inventions of smartphones with decent cameras, you now have the opportunity to have a camera with you. TJ said, “All of my photos were taken with the iPhone, none on this project were taken with my “regular” cameras.   I found it to be much easier to do it this way as it is always with me and I was able to process and get the photos ready all in the palm of my hand and not have to get to the computer.  “
4. Experiment
Although there needs to be some rhythm and discipline to Project 365, it’s also a channel to let you allow you to break out of your comfort zone. You’ll find throughout your year, you’ll crave creativity more and will challenge yourself. Otherwise your project becomes a job and you’ll get bored with it easily and will abandon it.
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(stock photography)
5. Save It Organize it Print It
Keeping a handle on 365 images can be daunting, but thanks to the popularity of the project there are now apps to help you efficiently save and organize your images. TJ said he relied on CollectPhotoApp. The basic version is free on Itunes you can also upgrade to the pro for $1.99. Another great one is called Photo 365 available on Itunes for $1.99.
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Finally, don’t forget to print it! you can print out these square calendars through Adoramapix. You can print them out individually or make a great keepsake photo book. You can also do a combination maybe have a calendar on page and a few of your favorites on the next.  Let your creativity flow while archiving it for future generations.
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Jan 2014 28

She lives in one of the most scenic areas in the world and photographs weddings in adverse weather conditions – most notably, the snow. Anastasia Chomlack is from Whistler, British Columbia and she believes whole heartedly in capturing weddings and love with the natural environment that is Whistler. This includes beautiful green pine trees in the summer and breathtaking, snow capped mountains in the winter. Anastasia gives us a few tips on photographing in the snow and cold.

1. STAY WARM.

This goes for the photographer and the client.

I used to apologize to the bride when I was dressed in boots, and layered in jackets and sweaters and she was in a dress… but honestly the warmer I am- the more patient I can be, the more time and care I can take to get the right photo. When photographing a wedding outside my best friends are my fingerless gloves and I have stopped apologizing for that!

Even though the dress may be strapless or lightweight I always encourage my brides who want snow photos to bring warm accessories that make sense in the snow; warm yet cute boots- a shawl, wrap or small jacket- even mittens… I want to take photos that are authentic and real- not just set up and styled. A bride freezing and underdressed in the snow just does not make sense:)

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2. Know your snow, and communicate it to your couple.

Small flakes will fall for longer and often that means its colder… large flakes will soon turn to rain and will not last for long. Communicate all of this to your client. The bride in this photo wanted to have the large snowflakes- they started to fall literally minutes before the ceremony- I immediately went to the couple and told them this was the window for large snowflakes and also told them that if we took the photos now they would be wet for the ceremony- They went for it- we spent five minutes outside, the guests loved the opportunity to watch the couple run outside in the snow and these photos were the brides favorites even if her hair was wet for the vows.

I make sure to share all of the different weather possibilities with my couples- and never promise a clean or dry dress after photos. There are so many unknowns when photographing in the winter- it is best to be prepared for anything!

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3. EXPOSURE.

The white dress on the white background can be tricky with the light reflecting off the snow creating highly reflective surfaces. When photographing in the snow I am watching my histogram more then the image itself- knowing that to to get white snow your graph should be roughly in the middle, and to the right.

Especially in the snow you need to remember that you are smarter than your camera- your camera will want to expose to the bright snow and end up creating underexposed photos.

Another tip is to be aware of the time of day- I do everything I can to not shoot in harsh sunlight during these sessions- always location scouting to make sure I can find open shade.

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4. PROTECTING YOUR EQUIPMENT.

Moving inside and outside for ceremony, reception and outdoor photos can create condensation and fogging which could limit your readiness to capture an important moment. Knowing my schedule is important- and I try to keep a second camera for indoors ready to go- so that my outdoor camera can warm up gradually to avoid condensation.

Another trick is to invest in some silica bags to put in your camera bag to quicken the drying up.

The cold will also make your batteries drain more quickly so pack extra batteries on cold days!

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5. Go with it.5. 

If it is super windy, super snowy, super cold… I like to use that in the images and not try to work against it. Snow photos are for the adventurous bride- and if that means a little snow in the face, wind in the hair…. arms wrapped around each other to keep things warm- then all the better! I am not afraid of flushed cheeks or red noses- it is all an authentic part of being photographed outside and I think it all adds so much to the image- it tells a story!
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Thanks to Anastasia for her amazing imagery and helpful tips. If you would like to see more of Anastasia’s work you can visit her webpage HERE. You can also follow her on Pinterest Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.   
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